What Is Veterinary Malpractice?Veterinary malpractice may occur when a veterinarian misdiagnoses an animal, prescribes the wrong treatment regimen or stops treatment before the animal has recovered. Veterinarians may be held liable for their actions, as well as those of assistants and vet technicians working with them.
An experienced malpractice lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and offer you advice. If you believe you have a veterinary malpractice case in California, contact us at 1-800-208-3538 for a free case evaluation.
My Pet Is Injured, How Can I Prove Veterinary Malpractice?If you believe your veterinarian rendered services below the standard of care, you can take your case to small-claims court for amounts up to $10,000. You can also file a report with the state veterinary licensing board. Animal owners should provide as much information as possible to support their veterinary malpractice case. Ask your veterinarian for a copy of your pet's file as soon as services are rendered, if possible, so you have a complete record of all tests and treatments. Getting a second opinion (from a professional who is not affiliated with your regular vet) can help rule out whether he or she was at fault. Likewise, if your pet dies, a veterinary pathologist can perform a necropsy (animal autopsy) to determine whether the cause of death can be attributed to malpractice.
To prove that your pet was the victim of veterinary malpractice, you must be able to show:
- The vet did not act in a reasonable manner: Getting expert testimony of another vet to prove that your vet fell below the standard of care will likely be necessary.
- The vet’s actions caused the pet’s injury: If your pet suffers from a known side effect of a procedure, you cannot sue the vet for malpractice even if he did perform the procedure in a negligent manner.
- Your pet must have suffered an injury: Simply showing negligence is not enough to prove malpractice. You must also show that the negligence caused some harm to you, such as emotional distress, or economic loss.